Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday was our last day of Vacation Bible School and our largest attendance - 280 in total. Suddenly it seemed like everything was over so quickly. We felt like we had connected to the children and given them a mountain top experience. Children had come from other churches in the area, but some of the children were un-churched. Our prayer is that the children who got on the bus to come to VBS this week will get on the bus next Sunday and find themselves in Sunday School and connected to a caring Christian community.
This afternoon, we had the chance to go to Cahal Pech, one of the Mayan ruins, actually an archaeological site, and had a relaxing afternoon of team building and seeing something of the country's history.
Then tonight we had our last time with the congregation of Lagoon Road, There was a wonderful dedication of the new upstairs children's rooms.
The door where Hal and Rhonda are standing to lead in prayer was one Trinity workmen hung.
After this service, we shared a time of thanksgiving, a slide show of the week, a wonderful chicken dinner, hugs and laughter.
We also presented baby quilts to the mothers in the congregation.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I won't be telling everyone's story from Belize, as those will be retold as we return to Raleigh. But tonight at the Lagoon Road Baptist Church we were all blessed to see God's hand at work.
The dental team stayed at church during dinner to try to see more patients, and as we returned to church we could see that they had begun to use flash lights to see. The church was full once again as we came to the last night of our revival.
Once again their were first time visitors to the church for the service and the congregation sang their Welcome Song. Four groups came up to sing for us. One group sang in their native language, an old dialect of Mayan, and two boys from the VBS sang a duet. Pastor Jeff's sermon tonight was on the fact that God wants everyone to go to Heaven. It was a calling sermon and even though Pastor Ed did not expect it, the church pulpit area filled up with those coming to make a public profession for Christ. The impact of the dental care, the love shown to the VBS children and the pastor's message were all intertwined in the Holy Spirit's reach to these people.
God be praised.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The road from Belmopan to St. Margaret's village is lush and green with palm trees and orange orchards. During our serve on Tuesday night we had a lot of sharing during the sharing time. We had a Trinity quintet to sing Give me Oil in my Lamp and one of the Belizian's shared their testimony about God's presence in her life. Pastor Jeff's sermon was about God's promises to bless us and courage to give our lives over to Him. At the end, some of the congregation were moved to come forward for a time of quiet prayer, one on one with the pastors. We are working to share God in their cultural patterns.
We had the answer to prayer as Buddy, from Fishers of Men, was able to get the dental team more lidocaine, the numbing drug that they needed to continue to treat patients. There was a line waiting as we arrived this morning - so much need.
Our VBS this morning has swelled to 230 but our rescheduling worked to better reach the children. We began with a packed sanctuary for the opening worship. The older girls made cards and baby packages as a mission project for their church, the youngest children dressed up for role play with the Bible passage about Jesus feeding the 5000 and the children received white canvas satchels which they decorated.
On the ride home from church, we stopped at a Menonite Bakers, Kropps, for something sweet for later. The lady was from Missouri but was spending 9 months in Belize working at their mission.
We have to thank the Trinity teams who came before us and helped with the construction on the building including finishing the four Sunday School rooms which we are using. They hung windows and doors, dug the trench to bring in water to the bathrooms and hand built the trusses for the roof. The building is serving God well in Belize.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday night we had a beautiful view of the mountains on our way to revival. Our dental team was a little surprised to see people at the church who had had teeth pulled in the afternoon. They really wanted to be in the house of the Lord. The church was filled as the service was opened by one of their lay members, Peter. Pastor Jeff led us in a message on Creation – not how it happened, but why. Jordan and Marc sang Washed by the Water in beautiful harmony for us. It was a good service and I should mentione that they have had first time guests both nights. The crowd lingered afterward until the bus driver called for his passengers.
We began Tuesday with a devotion led by Rhonda which included a challenge to engage each child with God’s love. We arrived at the church fresh for the day and found kids waiting an hour before we were to begin. We had talked about the children’s need for attention since they have little time from their parents due to working schedules. Children kept coming and the Kindergarten class took pictures of each child -42 pictures. Our 5th grade class was over 50, and when we served our refreshments, we served over 200. This has required some adjustments to our grouping and schedule to keep all the children engaged, but our leaders are blessed with a great spirit and we are “being flexible”. We showed a video about a cowboy church, made ukuleles and some of the children worked to build a bookshelf that will be a gift to the church.
The Dental clinic continues to serve over 30 people a day. The people are willing to wait for a long time in order to get their teeth cleaned and to see the dentist. Herb has commented repeated on the bravery of the people especially the children who are having difficult extractions. Many of the church members have come in with deep pain. The team has worked late into the afternoon to try to help as many people as possible.
Hal stopped at a fruit stand on the way home from the church. He bought us mangos and pineapples for breakfast so we are well cared for. Cook Jane made spaghetti for us for supper and it was delicious.We decided to splurge and opened a bag of ice for our drinks – a great meal.
Monday, July 19, 2010
We traveled to the church this morning really not knowing what to expect. We had decorated the 4 classrooms they had, set up a mission center in the sanctuary and moved tables for crafts under a tent. The dental clinic with its generator and fully equipped trailer was set up as well.
By the time the bus arrived the santuary was overflowing as 150 children arrived to participate. The day was hot and busy but it didn't rain and the children were told the Word of God.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
The Baptist Training Center is a a great refuge and home base for us in Belize. We had prayer time and breakfast this morning including watermelon and fresh mangoes before leaving for the church in St. Margaret's village. On the drive to church, we passed a police escort for a cycling race with maybe 50 riders and a camera crew with them. Cycling is the favorite national sport.
Sunday was a wonderful day of worship for us with the congregation of Lagoon Road Baptist church. We were blessed by their love of singing and their joy in fellowship. Each of the children's Sunday School classes reported on their Bible study as part of the service and we had a chance to witness the faithfulness of their teachers. Pastor Jeff lead our study of John 3 and several of the congregation came forward to rededicate their lives to Christ.
After church we picnicked on sandwiches which we had brought with us and spent several hours setting up for Vacation Bible and the Dental Clinic. A number of children lingered into the afternoon to watch us with great anticipation of the week beginning.
Our cook Jane made us a delicious spicy beef stew for supper before we returned to church to begin our revival. We brought our own special music with Jordan and Mark singing and playing the guitar for the evening service as well as our Trinity choir of 25 members singing "Standing on the Promises". Pastor Jeff spoke about Jesus's crucifixion and how much He loves us from John 19. This church is filled with happy children; we pray that God will use us to place His hand on them - each one in the way that they can receive it. Pray with us.
We have arrived safely in Belize and have had a day of being flexible. After meeting at Trinity at 5:00 AM, we were off the the airport and safe travel to Belize City. We were greeted by lush Bird of Paradise trees, friends from the Belize Baptist Convention with vans for our use, and a trailer for our foot lockers. It is very warm and very humid. Our drive from the city showed a population who live in meager existence.
Along the way, to avoid the rain and to keep the materials safe, we moved the footlockers from our trailer to the back of a bus that the Convention had also going to the Baptist Training Center. Our thanks go to the strong arms who moved the 50 pound lockers into the window at the back of the bus! And also to Rhonda, Hal and Tom for driving our vehicles. We found lunch at a roadside restaurant, Cheers, where we were entertained by a iguana and flowers while we waited for our barbequed chicken, fish sandwiches, and the best orange and watermelon juice you ever tasted.
At the Baptist Training Center we met Eric Maas, the CBF missionary from Greensboro and our host for the week. He showed us our rooms and were happy to discover they are newly air conditioned. The grounds here are beautiful and palm trees abound. Tonight we are beginning our personal devotions and journaling and meeting in small groups to share our Christian bonds and pray together for our opportunity to see God and be used by Him.
Tomorrow we will join the Lagoon Road Baptist church in Sunday morning worship lead by our pastor Jeff Roberts.